In last week’s post I described the first part of my writing process, from conception of a story idea through to the second edit. This week, I describe the next steps in the process…
When the second edit is complete, I let others read the story for the first time, either with or without the cover art, which I’ll say more about in a moment. My nerves always kick up at this point. I’ve put so much time and effort into the story that letting anyone see it is terrifying.
My husband is always the first to read anything I write, and I’ll implement any changes he suggests. I then send it to my network of beta readers and friends who are happy to take a look.
If their response is positive, I schedule a publication date. If, however, they inform of any errors, or have any suggestions, I take those on board and action them where necessary.
While I’m an artist myself, my artwork differs greatly from what is needed for cover art within the erotic romance genre, so I always outsource cover design. Whether I go with a custom design or pre-designed cover, I begin seeing the cover imagery in my mind early in the story’s development, and by the time the manuscript is finished, I have a few ideas of what I’d like.
For Serendipity, my first published work, I wanted to keep costs down, so I decided to go with a pre-designed cover. There are many great designers out there and I used this list as a starting point. I looked through a number of them, before returning to the first I’d seen, Melissa Alvarez’s BookCovers.us. The moment I saw the image, I loved it and felt connected to it. That said, I needed to make sure it was the one, so looked at other images on that site and elsewhere. I liked some others, so showed my husband three designs and asked him which he liked, without saying which I was drawn to. He chose the same one and within minutes I’d completed the purchase.
The service from Melissa was exceptional and I knew immediately that I’d work with her again, either for custom work or a pre-designed cover. The cover of my next publication, Apparitions, is another of Melissa’s pre-designed covers. Again, I loved it as soon as I saw it and so did my husband, so the decision was made.
The Story Becomes A Book
Once the story is complete, the penultimate step for me is writing the various elements needed to take a story and turn it into a book. The front and back matter, including the “blurb” or synopsis.
The last step, is perhaps the most important for anyone who independently publishes; formatting everything for publication. I currently distribute through both Amazon and Smashwords and both have their own slightly different requirements.
I begin by “nuking” my completed manuscript to remove any hidden formatting; by pasting it into Notepad and then into a new Microsoft Word document. Creating each version from this new Master doesn’t take long at all, around a couple hours. Each version is then read again to check for any errors.
The submission process for both distributors is easy, and neither take long to publish. For more control over the publication date, I always allow pre-order period, prior to the official launch date. Serendipity was available for two weeks ahead of the launch on February 1st.
Seeing the book on a retailer website is a special moment and something that should be celebrated. It’s another nerve wracking but exciting time in the life of the story as you await the next step. For me it’s akin to the final weeks of pregnancy, regardless of whether, in reality, you’re physically capable of birth. You’ve nurtured and developed the story for so long and the wait for it’s birth, or launch, is full of emotion.
Part of the fun for me is thanks to Amazon’s thirteen global market websites. Seeing the book page on each site in the various languages and the seemingly vast differences in price, thanks to the different currency conversions is entertaining for me.
While it might seem as if the writing process is complete. For me there’s still more to it. In next week’s blog post, I’ll describe the next steps.
Are You An Expectant Parent
Either in reality or as a writer? Do you get nervous when anyone else reads your story? Please leave a comment so we can share our experiences of the always emotional time.